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Practically Raw Desserts: Flexible Recipes for All-Natural Sweets and Treats Paperback – April 16, 2013
The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Amber Shea Crawley is a chef and writer specializing in healthful vegan and raw food. She was classically trained in the art of gourmet living cuisine at the world-renowned Matthew Kenney Academy, graduating in 2010 as a certified raw and vegan chef. In 2011, she earned her Nutrition Educator certification at the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute.
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Once of the things I love about this book (and Amber's previous one) is that she takes the time to educate you about certain ingredients -- what's good/nutritious about them and how they work in a recipe. She includes tables to help you determine things like how long to soak various kinds of nuts, and explains things like the difference between coconut oil and coconut butter.
After the introductory section, the first chapter focuses on how to make your own milks, butters, flours, and syrups. There are some seriously fantastic photos in here -- including a five-sequence shot of the inside of a food processor to show you what your nut butter consistency should be like.
What is also outstanding is how Amber gives ingredient substitution lists for most of the recipes, as well as instructions for how to make some of the items in an oven if you don't have a food dehydrator (which I don't). The substitution list is especially helpful if you have a hard time finding certain ingredients in your area.
Another great thing is that this book purposefully uses ingredients that you most likely already have on hand if you're using raw cookbooks. She makes a point of eschewing harder-to-find items like maca or lacuma powder, and instead uses things like nut butters and flours, fresh fruit, cacao powder, etc. If you don't have the nut butters, flours, or mylks at the ready, she also shows you how to easily make them.
The book is also 100% vegan, and doesn't use any honey.
Last night, after this arrived, I made the Almond Butter Melties. They came together in five minutes, and were delicious!
Whether your weakness is cookies, cakes, cobblers, puddings, ice creams, pies, or energy bars -- this book has it all! As I said in my review title, this book is going to be dangerous for my waistline, but it'll be so worth it! In all seriousness, though, the ingredients in all of the recipes are so healthy that eating dessert feels like you're doing something good for yourself!
UPDATE ON 4/6/13: I made two more recipes today -- and they came out delicious! I wanted to add two things to my review.
One is that this new book puts two-page recipes on facing pages, so you don't wind up having to turn the page to get the second half of a recipe. I'm so happy that they made this change, since Amber's first book didn't do this.
The second thing I wanted to add is that a lot of the cookies don't even have to be made in the oven or dehydrator; you can freeze them for a few hours.
I'm quickly becoming obsessed with all the yummy treats in this book!
UPDATE ON 4/10/13: Someone asked me in the comments section about the use of soy, nuts, and flours in this book, so I thought I'd add the info from my reply into my review so it's easier to see.
It looks like about 75% or so of the recipes use nuts, but I don't see any that call for soy products.
The main flours that she uses are coconut flour, cashew flour, and almond flour. The only one that she said you need to use the actual product for is coconut flour; you can sub other flours for the nut ones.
Thank you Chef Amber for making both books so easy and welcoming to the world of raw food! It has truly turned around my health and gives me joy to be in the kitchen each day!
This amazing author even goes as far as to show you how you can make your own nut butters (have you seen those jars at the store? talk about yikes on the $$$ scale), flours and milks. No cracking coconuts in this book, you're new to naturally sweetened treats, you don't want to stress yourself out too much! All of the ingredients in her recipes are easy to find at your local grocery stores.
I was so impressed with her dessert book, which is her second, I went ahead and ordered her first book, "Practically Raw." Do yourself a great favor and order both! You'll thank me later. I will leave off with this note, I do not commit myself to just one type of diet. I am a meat eater, veggie and fruit eater, and a tofu eater. I bought this book as a way to enhance and enrich my diet and in my personal opinion it has worked. I find myself eating more naturally sweetened treats than any other type, but I'm human and I still indulge.